During the first three games of the 2013 season, the once potent Detroit Red Wings are an ugly 0-15 on the power play, “good” for a 0.0 percentage which ranks a frustrating 28th in league efficiency.
Those are not misprints. 0-15. 0.0 percent. Worse yet, given the team’s overall inability to find the back of the net anyway, Detroit’s issues with the man advantage make things feel even worse, and certainly look as if they’re beginning to effect the Red Wings’ legs and minds during 5 on 5 play.
That will continue to happen until someone manages to put a puck in the net when the other team is in the penalty box. Now, it’s as if there’s a two-ton gorilla wearing skates and pads on the Red Wings’ collective backs. Until someone is able to score, he’s just not going to go away. He’s standing in front of the net blocking shots, he’s knocking people over. For obvious reasons, just call him Claude. He’s not our friend.
Say what you will about Detroit’s lack of a steady quarterback like Nicklas Lidstrom, or the lack of a disturber like Tomas Holmstrom to stand in front of the net, look for deflections and make life miserable for the goaltender. Regardless of any excuses, personnel frustrations or injury shortcomings, whoever is playing has to find a way to push across one measly goal in the meantime, which would make everyone feel better.
If and when a power play score comes, it will feel like lead has been removed from skates and a lid has been taken off the net. Everyone (media included) might finally be able to relax a bit. The team might be able to look more engaged during even strength play. Remember, these guys aren’t chopped liver. From Pavel Datsyuk to Henrik Zetterberg, Valtteri Filppula and Damien Brunner, there’s talent at work. It’s a matter of putting everything together in the early season and turning around a tiny bit of negative momentum.
So, save the roster discussions for another day (believe me, they’re coming, and not just from me, either). The rest of this week, all the Red Wings must focus on doing is breaking their current penchant for a putrid power play. If they solve that, things might start to turn around everywhere else, too.
Claude also might decide to move along and find a new home, as well. Would it be too much to ask him to buy a one way ticket for Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania? I’ll chip in.
Play Of The Week: Damien Brunner’s shootout goal. As far as raw talent is concerned, it’s clear Brunner’s is off the charts. Tuesday night in Columbus, he scored an impossible looking goal in the shootout to give the Red Wings a 4-3 victory. The move was “Datsyukian” in nature, and gave Red Wings’ fans a glimmer of hope that Brunner is not simply the next Ville Leino. Go ahead and watch it again.
Game Of The Week: Minnesota Wild at Detroit Red Wings (Friday). Here come the Wild for an early season match up, and they’ll bring with them all of the Red Wings’ best free agent options from last summer. Zach Parise and Ryan Suter make their first visit to Hockeytown, owners of a respectable 2-1 record. The Red Wings need a win and the Wild are playing well. It should be an interesting game. Oh, free agent envy.
Dead Wings Doghouse: Kyle Quincey. Has Detroit had a worse player early this season than Quincey? He’s -4 on the year, looking like a liability on defense while contributing nothing offensively to balance that out with only four shots on net. Quincey has to pick up his play soon and at least start to have a pulse. Why? Here’s a friendly reminder: Ken Holland gave up a first round draft pick for him last winter.
Central Charting: After three games, the Red Wings are 1-2 with two points. As of today, that’s good for last place, and the basement of the division. To borrow a theme from Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, seeing that feels like witnessing Elvis actually helping Santa Claus make toys.
Max DeMara is a senior editor at The Detroit Sports Site. You can find him on Twitter @SportsGuyTheMax